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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

ENRICO RAVA/ JAZZPAR 2002 SEXTET

By Stacy Meyn

Happiness Is
Stunt

Italian jazzista Enrico Rava's love for Miles Davis' music drove him to trumpet and flugelhorn, and he got his official start in 1964 scoring soundtracks with Argentine saxophonist Gato Barbieri before releasing his own album two years later. Rava hasn't paused to take a breath since, and was the lucky 13th (and first Italian) to bag the prestigious JAZZPAR Prize, which is grudgingly doled out to jazz laureates each year. The mostly-Danish JAZZPAR 2002 Sextet features Rava's long-time American colleague John Abercrombie and is entitled Happiness Is As if you had to guess. Only three days of rehearsals, and the performances are magnificent, propelled by Rava's at-once lyrical then-fiery passages. "Tango For Vasquez Y Pepita" jounces out as the opener, and one lengthy yet apt track is "Happiness Is To Win A Big Prize" -- why lie? Rava made a light-hearted remark about enjoying a prize with hefty funds. Also delightful is Rava's swinging version of "Dear Old Stockholm" (a Stan Getz and Miles Davis fave). Rava and co. prove he deserves the laurels and loot.